B Is Not For Bouzouki

June 22, 2017 - Off Topic

Recently, I had the occasion to be watching The Wiggles with my young nephew. A children’s edutainment show, it features the usual mix of songs, words, repetition, and brightly colored engagement. It also features a segment in which a letter is presented, connecting that letter with a word so that children can associate letters with sounds and objects of relevance in their daily lives.

“B!” the presenter said. “What is B for?” The other presenter, claiming to know the answer, began strumming in midair.

Now let’s get one thing straight here. I’m a fairly educated person, and I’d like to think my vocabulary is rather good. I sat there watching as this individual, a Wiggle by trade, went “bliblibliblibli” as he Wiggled his hand in midair on imaginary strings, and for the life of me I could not determine what mad truth of the universe he was about to impart upon me.

“B,” he asserted gamely, “is for Bouzouki!”

Let me presage what is to follow by agreeing, in principle, that the word “bouzouki” does in fact begin with the letter B.



I don’t know, readers, maybe they had run out of other B words to engage a child with. Perhaps the writers Wiggled their eyes across a dictionary page with such frenetic energy that they completely missed more common words and landed on “bouzouki” as it was longer than others. Know how I know what a bouzouki is? That would be because I’ve watched Monty Python’s Flying Circus, itself a repository of great and mighty nonsense, and was informed of the unlikely stringed instrument’s nature by the hapless owner of a cheeseless shop.

It’s been pointed out to me that The Wiggles is an Australian production, and that Australia has a substantial population of Greek immigrants, to whom the bouzouki is much more familiar. To these people I say: go jump in a lake. I had the occasion to watch another episode with my small nephew, and on this occasion the letter “A” was chosen to boggle the minds of the young. What might A be for, O Lord High Wiggle? Apple? Airplane? Ant? Maybe Adult or Apron or Ape or Arm? No.

A, of course, is for Accordion.

I see your plans, O Wiggles, and I shall follow them thusly:

C is for Concertina
D is for Didgeridoo
E is for Euphonium
F is for Flugelhorn
G is for Glockenspiel
H is for Hurdy-Gurdy
I is for Ichigenkin
J is for Jiaohu
K is for Keytar
L is for Laser Harp
M is for Marimba
N is for Nose Flute
O is for Ophicleide
P is for Psaltery
Q is for Quinticlave
R is for Rauschpfeife
S is for Shakuhachi
T is for Theremin
U is for Uilleann Pipes
V is for Vuvuzela
W is for Whamola
X is for Xiao
Y is for Yodeling
Z is for Zither

I’m curious what we do after unlikely musical instruments. Do I get to pick? I have some thoughts. B could be for Bathyscape, or Borborgymus, or how about Behemoth or Bronchitis? B could be for Botswana or Bratislava, Bilateral or Buoyancy. Benzene! Let’s get the little tykes understanding carbon ring groups early, why not? Buddhism? Blemmyes? Braggadocio?

Honestly, I can’t imagine them even attempting any other B word than those. That would be bananas.

One thought on “B Is Not For Bouzouki

Auntie G

This was very funny. After sitting through several episodes myself I too have wondered what comes after 26 musical instruments!


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